Home Composting to Reduce Food Waste
In our throwaway society, we think that food waste is completely unnecessary - it’s expensive, it’s inefficient and it’s contributing to the need for more landfill sites. It’s estimated that an enormous 33-50% of all food produced globally is never eaten, which is a criminal amount thrown away. If, like us, you want to see a change in these habits then you’ll be keen to learn more about home composting to reduce food waste and ensure that everything in your fridge is used or put to good use without ending up in the rubbish. Find out more about what to include on your home compost pile, what to avoid (and what you can do with these scraps instead).
What can you compost with?
Your compost heap should contain a mix of green materials, as these are rich in nitrogen. A nitrogen deficiency in soil results in stunted plants, as they need this element to grow. To find great sources of nitrogen that you might otherwise be throwing away, start adding things like fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags and coffee grounds, grass clippings and seaweed.
Your compost heap will only thrive with a good source of organic carbon – it needs this for healthier plant life, and it’s also beneficial to useful microbes and insects inside the soil. You can add great carbon-rich sources to your compost heap from things like bread, grains, eggshells, shredded newspaper, sawdust, dryer lint and hair.
What can you not compost?
Food scraps that can go into your compost heap will help reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill, however there are some food waste scraps that you can’t throw away. These include meat, bones, dairy products and cooking oils. These can attract pests and vermin to your compost heap, but if you’re interested in finding new ways to reduce these, then why not try the following:
- Making sure you divide up your meat on the day of purchase to freeze and defrost as you need it to save any wastage
- Using meat bones in a delicious bone broth or for a rich stock
- Use up leftover dairy before it expires with these great recipe ideas
Controlling smells in your compost heap
Obviously, the thought of rotting foods in your garden isn’t an appealing one, but your compost heap won’t actually smell like anything other than dirt if it’s properly balanced. If there is a bad smell, then you might need to turn it over with a rake to create more air in it, or add more brown material and cut back on the green sources. If it doesn’t look like it’s composting quickly enough, you can add a bit more water to it to help things along. If the pile is damp and had a sweet smell to it, then there might be too little green material in it – add some more fruit and veg scraps to it to help it balance out.